More than one million Americans apply for Social Security Disability benefits every year. Around half are initially denied.
Working with an attorney makes applicants much more likely to be approved for the benefits they seek.
But choosing an attorney to represent you is no small task. Here’s what every applicant needs to know about selecting Social Security Disability attorneys.
Area of Focus and Experience
Not every attorney is well-suited to handle a Social Security Disability case. This is because SSD cases are multi-layered. Lawyers need to understand more than just the laws around disabilities. They must also understand the medical aspects of the case.
To successfully fight for benefits on a client’s behalf, an attorney must:
- Understand the application process in detail
- Be familiar with the disability in question
- Be familiar with the medical processes and standards surrounding those disabilities
- Have a strong grasp of the SSA’s requirements and expectations around the disability
Thus, the first step in choosing an attorney is finding one that specializes in SSD cases.
A Note About Representation
Applicants also need to verify that the person they choose to represent them is, in fact, an attorney. By law, non-attorney advocates can represent applicants in their cases.
These advocates can cost as much as an attorney. However, they are not as equipped to help applicants press their cases. Never contract with an advocate without first ensuring they are a real attorney.
References, Reviews, and Success Rate
The second step in selecting an attorney is to check their references and reviews. Look for attorneys with:
- Strong track records of success in SSD cases
- Positive reviews from former clients
- Excellent reputations
You will work closely with your attorney, so it is important to choose someone you trust and are comfortable with. Keep in mind that you have many options for attorneys and it is better to take your time finding the right one to guide you through the five steps of the application process than to rush to a decision and regret your decision.
Talk to your attorney of choice about their specific experience and their understanding of your condition and situation before making a final selection. While interviewing potential attorneys, don’t forget about comparing attorney fees and payment options, as this can influence your choice as well.
Whenever possible, hire an attorney as early in the application process as you can. Using an attorney the first time around can help you get approved for benefits as quickly as possible.
Too often, the SSA rejects initial applications due to process or paperwork errors. This forces eligible applicants to wait months or even years longer than necessary to start collecting benefits. Working with an attorney upfront can prevent this.
The Benefit of Social Security Disability Attorneys
Good Social Security Disability attorneys can make the difference between getting the benefits you deserve and being denied. Learn more about pursuing successful legal cases, choosing great attorneys, and related topics by browsing the other great articles on our blog today.